Summary: Patience remembers the ownership of God on the project at hand, and digs deep to please the Lord in whatever is undertaken for Him. If it is His work, it has His results and His guarantee, but it requires our faithful patience to continue when logic, conv
September 17, 2000 -- AM
NAILING DOWN PATIENCE
(Habakkuk 2: 1-3).
(1) In the book of Habakkuk we are looking at seven stakes of stability. We are nailing down the loose ends at Family Baptist Fellowship. Last week we placed the stake of holiness as it related to understanding the wisdom of God. Today we will nail down the practice of patience as it relates to living by the Word of God.
(2) It was Bishop Hugh Latimer who said that a drop of rain made a hole in a stone, not by violence but by continually falling. So we need patience and perseverance. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
(3) Harold Fickett describes the foundation of patience. "You and I may not be very valuable as the world measures value. We may not be very high on the social ladder; we may not achieve much in our business; we may not be wealthy. But in the eyes of God we are valuable because we are possessed by Him. When a Christian realizes this, a Christian becomes very stable though the very foundations on which he has been standing are knocked from under him." -Harold L. Fickett, Jr. in Peter’s Principles, p.73.
(4) Habakkuk 2: 1 is a theme verse. The determination “to stand watch” is to be compared with 3: 19 -- God is my strength. Habakkuk 2: 1-3 alludes to patience. Patience is a forward look with an upward gaze, in circumstances when advancement stands still, improvement disappears, and progress slides backward. Patience remembers the ownership of God on the project at hand, and digs deep to please the Lord in whatever is undertaken for Him. If it is His work, it has His results and His guarantee, but it requires our faithful patience to continue when logic, convenience, and desire may shout demands to quit. Patience listens to the voice of God and perseveres.
PROPOSITION: PATIENCE MAKES US STABLE.
Habakkuk provides us with three nails to secure patience at Family Baptist Fellowship.
I. Nail # 1: A patient commitment (Habakkuk 2: 1).
A. "I" will: Stand by my watch.
The watch is a military activity. It involves entrusting the trained individual with the responsibility of looking for potential threats to the community he is a part of. The faithful watchman denies himself normal hours of sleep so that he might be awake while other sleep. He does not go without sleep, but takes his sleep that another time, so that he might watch. He trains his eyes and does the right thing when he sees a THREAT. Staying at his post requires commitment!
Prophets are watchmen. They look far off. Isaiah 52:8; Jeremiah 6: 17; Ezekiel 3: 17; 23: 7. They are often found looking up to God -- Psalm 5: 4; Micah 7: 7. Habakkuk’s question about "why" in chapter one was something revealing the need for adjustment in attitude. Habakkuk knew this. The prophet took his stand -- apart from man and the thoughts and cares of this world -- on his lonely watch....
B. "I" will: Set myself on the rampart.
The rampart is a tower or a bulwark. It is a protected, enclosed area, usually on the wall of a city, from where watchmen could look into the distance and detect enemy activity – or the approach of a messenger. Sometimes the rampart was around a vineyard to provide deterrent to thieves.
It required patience to set oneself on the rampart. If things were going well, nothing happened. This meant enduring potential boredom yet remaining alert. If things were not going well, the patience to take the right course of action and keep a cool head while others may be losing theirs was needed. The watchman could not ignore, overlook, or run from the face of the enemy.
Standing on the rampart required alertness. Distractions of society, lack of sleep, and vices could inhibit effectiveness. A patient watchman on the rampart had to be a clear thinking individual who did not cloud his judgment with intoxications (such as SPAM: sex, power, alcohol, or money).
The modern Christian stands watch on ramparts such as his relationship with God, his marriage, his family, his home, his community, the education of his children, his place of employment, his church. On each of these ramparts, it is hard, maybe even impossible, to be patient and drunk at the same time. We cannot stand our watch on our ramparts if we are pursuing the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life, therefore clouding our judgment and weakening our determination (I John 2:15-17).
Have You Ever Known --
A man to lose his job because he drank too little?